Public Law Newsletter | Summer 2014 | Volume XXIV | Issue 2

by Jennifer Brask | Jul 15, 2014

Public Law Section E-News

Summer 2014 | Volume XXIV | Issue 2

                                                                                    Issue Editor  
 Kim Buechel Mesun



1. 2014 PLS Awards of Excellence


2. May 16 PLS Annual Meeting CLE

3. 2014-15 PLS Executive Council Election Results

4. 2014 Laws of Interest to Public Lawyers
Michele Timmons, Minnesota Revisor of Statutes


5. 2013-14 PLS Annual Report
Margaret Westin & Lynn Belgea, PLS Section Co-chairs


6. Administrative Law Section: 2013-14 Annual Report
Sanjeeta Jain, Admin. Law Section Chair


7. MSBA Assembly Meeting Report
Juan Hoyos, PLS Representative


8. PLS Public Service Projects
  • Loaves & Fishes
  • Sponsor a Family

9. Public Lawyers on the Move, News from the Bench & Announcements

10. Recipes Public Lawyers will Love
Eileen Wells, Mankato City Attorney


11. Data Practices Opinions Index
Lynn Belgea


12.Upcoming CLEs of Interest to Public Lawyers



2014 Public Law Section Awards

On May 16, 2014, the Public Law Section presented its annual awards of excellence.  The following articles are from presentation comments made at the awards ceremony or from nomination letters submitted on behalf of the recipient.

Click here to view award recipients.



Cultural Competency; Working Effectively with

Muslim Clients, Colleagues and Customers

 Annual Meeting CLE – May 16, 2014

The 2014 Public Law Section Annual Meeting CLE held on May 16, 2014 was a presentation by Saly Abd Alla, Civil Rights Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN), of the basic religious beliefs and cultural practices of Islam.  Providing effective government service to the Minnesota Muslim community, as well as effective advocacy for Muslim clients, starts with understanding their basic religious beliefs and cultural practices.  In October 2013, CAIR-MN received an American Bar Association Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division 2013 “Difference Makers Award” for CAIR-MN’s pro bono work providing free legal services to Muslims and other racial and religious minorities in Minnesota.

In the second part of the presentation Ms. Abd Alla was joined by Osseo Area Schools (ISD No. 279) General Counsel Margaret Westin for a discussion of current and emerging issues in this area and to answer participants’ questions.

CLE Credits:
2.5 Elimination of Bias CLE credits.



Public Law Section Executive Council Elections for 2014-15

Set out below are the results of the Executive Council Elections held at the Public Law Section Annual Meeting on May 16, 2014.

Co-Chairs (1-year term):
Lynn Belgea- Legal Counsel, Data Practices Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Health
Juan Hoyos – Assistant County Attorney, Ramsey County Attorney’s Office

Secretary: (1-year term):
Lisa Veith – Assistant City Attorney, St. Paul City Attorney’s Office

Treasurer: (1-year term):
Hon. Diane Alshouse – District Court Judge, Second Judicial District

Executive Council (1-year term):
Tori Stewart – Assistant County Attorney, Dakota County Attorney’s Office
Melissa Manderschied – Attorney, Kennedy & Graven

Executive Council (2-year term):
Lisa Gordon—Assistant City Attorney, Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office
Patricia Beety – Attorney, League of Minnesota Cities
Margaret Westin – General Counsel, ISD 279, Osseo Area Schools

Returning Council Members (not on ballot, serving the 2nd year of 2-year term):
Corrine Heine – Minnetonka City Attorney
Inta Sellers – Co-Chief Human Services Judge, Minnesota Department of Human Services
Laura Zajac—General Counsel, Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry 


2014 Minnesota Laws of Interest to Public Lawyers
By Michele L. Timmons, Revisor of Statutes

During the 2014 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature passed 169 bills, with only one full veto and one line-item veto.  2014 was a bonding year, with capital investments made in Chapter 294, H.F. 2490, and Chapter 295, H.F. 1068.  In addition, many policy provisions enacted are relevant to the practices of public attorneys, and this article lists some notable new acts.

Click here to continue reading.


Public Law Section

2013-14 Annual Report

Section Membership
As of June 3, 2014, the Section has 478 members. 

Financial Status
The Section had an account balance of $8,391.82 as of April 30, 2014.

Continuing Legal Education Programs 
The Section hosted 6 CLE programs in fiscal year 2013-14. 

Click here to continue reading.



Administrative Law Section

2013-14 Annual Report

Section Membership
As of June 6, 2014, the Section has 147 members.

Financial Status
The Section had an account balance of $2,849.99 as of April 30, 2014.

 Continuing Legal Education Programs
The Section hosted 4 CLE programs in fiscal year 2013-14. 

Click here to continue reading.


MSBA Assembly Meeting Report
By Juan Hoyos, Public Law Representative

The MSBA assembly met on June 25, 2014, at the Minnesota CLE Center.  It was the last meeting for the 2013-2014 year.  It was also the last meeting for outgoing President Phil Duran.  Richard Kyle will preside as President for the 2014-2015 year.  The assembly voted and approved appointments for three positions to the MSBA Foundation Board.  There are two remaining seats for which the Election/Appointments Committee still seeking candidates.  Also, Ms. Sonia Miller-VanOort, a Minneapolis attorney, was selected as the new MSBA Secretary.

Of note, members of the MSBA’s Judiciary Committee reported on several important initiatives.  The first, allowing the MSBA President to petition the Minnesota Supreme Court to adopt changes to the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct consistent with changes already adopted by the ABA.  The petition would also ask the court to recognize, for the first time, the comments to the rules as authoritative.  The MRPC were first adopted in 1985.  The assembly also considered and approved recommendations to change language within the Minnesota General Rules of Practice, Rules of Professional Conduct and the Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure.  The language changes address the non-discrimination portion of the rules and adds language prohibiting discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation” and “status with regard to public assistance, ethnicity”.  These proposals will be considered by the relevant rule committees for further action, if any.  The MSBA’s position on these and other issues may be viewed on the organization’s website at

The next assembly meeting is scheduled for September 12, 2014.


PLS Public Service Projects

The Public Law Section is very proud of its public service history.  Since the section was first created in 1991, the PLS has been organizing opportunities for public lawyers and their friends to help out.  We are always looking for volunteers.  If you are interested in helping out, see below for contact information. 


Click here to continue reading.



Public Attorneys on the Move

The following people have recently retired from their positions in the public sector:

The Honorable Tom Kalitowski – Minnesota Court of Appeals
The Honorable Terri Stoneburner – Minnesota Court of Appeals
John Stuart – Minnesota State Public Defender
David Iverson – Minnesota Attorney General’s Office
George Widseth – Hennepin County Attorney’s Office
Eileen Wells – Mankato City Attorney (retiring in August)
Steve Alpert – Minnesota Attorney General’s Office (retiring in August)
Karen Kushner – Ramsey County Attorney’s Office (retiring in August)

Click here to continue reading.



½ cup Italian bread crumbs
¼ tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
3 medium zucchini
¼ cup milk
1 egg

  1. Spray cookie sheet with oil. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Put bread crumbs, garlic powder, and cheese in a plastic food storage bag and shake well to combine.
  3. Cut each zucchini lengthwise, then cut each piece in half horizontally.
  4. Beat egg and milk in shallow bowl. Dip each zucchini stick and drop it into the bag of bread crumbs. Shake until well coated. Place onto cookie sheet. Repeat for each zucchini stick.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Serve with ranch dressing or warm spaghetti sauce

 Autumn Gold Pumpkin Cake

For the cake:
1 package golden cake mix
3 large eggs
1 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup walnuts (chopped)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. Combine cake mix, eggs, water, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in 1 cup walnuts.
  4. Pour batter into pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool following directions on the cake mix.

For the frosting:
2 containers vanilla frosting
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ cup walnuts for garnish (coarsely chopped)

  1. Combine vanilla frosting and cinnamon. Stir until blended.
  2. Fill and frost cake.
  3. Garnish with walnuts.

We would like to thank Eileen for all of the delicious recipes she has provided over the years.  She has announced that she will be retiring in August so we are looking for anyone who would like to become the new Recipe Queen/King.  If interested, please contact Kim Mesun at


Department of Administration

Advisory Opinions Index


This index uses the Department of Administration’s opinion numbers, dates of opinion, government entity involved and opinion requester.  We add a brief topic description.  Text of the 2014 opinions is available on line at .


No. of Opinion

Date of Opinion

Gov’t Entity Involved


Opinion Requester






Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board


Data Practices Act: Minn. Stat. sections 13.02, 13.03, & 13.607, subd. 2


Inconsistency in data classification terminology used by the Data Practices Act and the Board’s disclosure statute (section 10A.02); data classification by state rule










Bureau of Mediation Services


Data Practices Act: Minn. Stat. section 13.43


Classification of data in an arbitrator’s decision submitted to the Bureau, upholding an employee’s grievance and reversing all aspects of disciplinary action against the employee



BMS Commissioner Tilsen






University of Minnesota


Data Practices Act: Minn. Stat. section 13.03, subd. 2a


Determination of prompt and appropriate response to request









Cold Spring City Council


Open Meeting Law: Minn. Stat. sections 13D.01 & 13D.05


Authority to close a meeting and whether a job applicant is an individual subject to the body’s authority



St. Cloud Times






Houston County Board of Commissioners


Open Meeting Law: Minn. Stat. section 13D.01


Statement of the body on the record providing grounds for closing a meeting and describing the subject of the discussion










Independent School District 625 (Saint Paul)


Data Practices Act: Minn. Stat. section 13.43


Access to data on complaints about former public employees; classification of names of requesters of public personnel data; requests to access data by data subject










Newport City Council


Open Meeting Law: Minn. Stat. section 13D.05


Closed meeting to evaluate performance and summary of conclusions about the evaluation at next open meeting




Prepared by Lynn Belgea


Upcoming CLEs of Interest to Public Lawyers

IMLA Annual Conference in Baltimore
The International Municipal Lawyers’ Association is holding its annual meeting September 10-14, 2014, in Baltimore.  The conference has been coordinated with Baltimore’s celebration of the 200th Birthday of the National Anthem, featuring tall ships, a musical concert and spectacular fireworks event.  The conference includes presentations on numerous topics of interest to local government, including e-cigarettes, cybercrime, e-discovery, stormwater permitting, pension eform, local hiring preferences, diversity and discrimination in police and fire, and many other topics.  For more information, go to

Advanced Bankruptcy Seminar – Practical Perspectives
September 15-17, 2014, Biltmore, Providence, RI
Early Registration Deadline is August 15, 2014

Click here to continue reading.

Annual Report

MSBA Public Law Section
Annual Report


Section Membership

As of June 22, 2020 the Section has 450 members.

Financial Status

The Section had an account balance of $9,386.58 as of May 31, 2020.

CLEs & Events

The Section hosted 7 events in fiscal year 2019-20. 

Program Title


Event Code

CLE Credits

Number of Attendees

MSBA Public Law Data Practices Retreat




2.0 Standard

1.0 Elimination of Bias


Mindfulness – Living a Lower Maintenance Life



1.0 Standard


Anatomy of an Ethics Complaint



1.0 Ethics


Public Service Loan Forgiveness – Where We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We May Be Heading



1.0 Standard


Help for Attorneys in Crisis – Dealing with Lawyer Addiction and Impairment



1.0 Elimination of Bias


Contract Checkup – Diagnosing Problems in State and Municipal Contracts



1.0 Standard


Public Law Section Elections and Q&A





Annual Meeting and Election Results

The Section’s Annual Meeting was held on June 12 and 19 people attended. 

The following new council members were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2022:

• Sarah McGee, Minnesota State Colleges & Universities
• Kathryn Iverson Landrum, Minnesota Attorney General's Office
• Lisa Godon, Hennepin County Attorney’s Office

The following council member was re-elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2022:

• Meg Jacot, Metropolitan Council of the Twin Cities

The following council member will serve as an ex officio member of the judiciary on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021:

• The Honorable Tracy Smith, Minnesota Court of Appeals 

The following council members will continue to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021:

• Andrew Wold, Minnesota Office of Higher Education 
• Amber Eisenschenk, League of Minnesota Cities 
• Craig Gustafson, Minnesota Department of Transportation 
• Nancy Norman Sommer, Anoka County Attorney's Office

The following officers were elected to serve on the Section’s Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2021:

• Co-Chair: Justin Kwong, Minnesota Department of Health 
• Co-Chair: Kate Swenson, Greene Espel, PLLP
• Treasurer: Cathy Miller, Rice County Attorney’s Office    
• Secretary: Ethan Landy, Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry

The following law students will serve on the Section's Governing Council from 7/1/2020 to 6/30/2020:
• Ivy Marsnik, University of Minnesota Law School 
• Cyle Cramer, Mitchell Hamline School of Law 

Diversity and Inclusion
What diversity and inclusion goals did the Section include in the 2019-2020 work plan, how did you approach these goals, and what was the result?

  • The Section completed a Diversity & Inclusion plan in the 2017-2018 year, and the Section referenced this plan as it conducted its 2019-20 business. The Section completed its goal of hosting a CLE in Greater Minnesota when it held its Data Practices Retreat in Baxter, MN. 
  • The Section continued to fill law student representative positions on the Council to ensure there is representation from all three law schools. 
  • The Section provided remote access to most CLEs to provide access to public law attorneys throughout Minnesota. 
  • The Section cultivated COVID-19 resources and made them easily accessible via the Section website. 

Other Section Accomplishments

  • The Section donated funds to the MSBA New Lawyers Leadership Conference ($100), Minnesota Justice Foundation ($250), and Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers ($50). 

Submitted By:
Amelia Jadoo and Justin Kwong, Section Co-Chairs
Date July 8th, 2020